For my Happy Box!

10 06 2013

One of those tiny little moments that make my life.. Conversations with my daughter (in mother tongue Telugu)…

Me: Lakshya, what sound does crow make?

Lakshya: Kaav Kaav..

Me: Good. Now tell me how does a Dog sound like?

Lakshya: Dog a? Bhow Bhow..

Me: Nice!  Now tell me what does Cuckoo say?

Lakshya: Coo – Coo (almost singing)

Me: (Almost wishful..) What does Lakshya say?

Lakshya: Amma Kaavali.. Amma Kavali anta.

Need I say more?





Something Amiss..

13 07 2008

As a sheer wave of nostalgia hits me in this sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but muse on all those lovely moments of my life.. Yes, Indeed I miss

  • Those Hasty Bicycle rides to School
  • Climbing Guava and Mango trees in search of sweet temptations
  • Those Hide and Seek Games that filled lazy afternoons
  • Summer Time.. Umm.. Mango eating competitions in the village backyards.. Yummy!
  • Hosting Bicycle Championships around the village roads
  • Inventing creative reasons for missing classes
  • Those innocent dreams of Ramayan, Snakes and Shaktiman
  • Those days of ‘Chitrahaar’ and ”Doordarshan’ sans remote control
  • Bending rules with childhood pals, my partners in crime
  • Those summer rains and the lighthearted frolic on the terrace
  • The sheer joy of growing up, and the academic rigmarole

Umm.. How I long for a little drizzle of joy or a time machine… Suddenly this whole business of playing the adult isn’t that appealing any more.





The Kite Runner…

28 04 2008

“Now there is a way to be good again…

For you, a thousand times over.. “

And so those words sang in my head when I spent my time with Amir, Hassan, Baba and Sohrab. It been some time after ‘Gone With The Wind’ since a book has deeply stirred my emotions and swirled tears in my eyes.

‘The Kite Runner’ is in a way, a celebration of human spirit and life in all its totality. Filled with human vices and touching emotions like love, sacrifice, selfishness, envy, rivalry, guilt, loyalty, betrayal, cowardice, love-hate relationships, lies and redemption, this little work of fiction feels so much human in its element that it strikes a chord and leaves lasting impressions.

This book is about two brothers Amir and Hassan, who share a unbreakable binding vine of kinship and love despite their ethnic, social and religious differences, being reared by a father who loved them differently. Though the story is narrated by Amir in first person, its that idealistic sacrificial and loyal love that Hassan showers over Amir that tenderly tugged my heart. While wadding through Amir’s guilt and his escapist choices, somehow my bitterness and hatred towards Amir effaced into thin air towards the end of book, as he tries to live up to Hassan’s love and atones for his sins. I was enraged at Amir for his betrayal of Hassan, yet I couldn’t stop myself from forgiving him when he redeems himself from his fallacies by running for Sohrab’s kite. Made me wonder, if deeply moving love can make one raise up to its worth. Is that cosmic justice, or is it the flow of life? Aptly titled, this inherently beautiful tome left me aching for more and I am sure I would treasure this forever in my private collection.

Here are some Phrases/Quotes from the book that I enjoyed…

““… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering it things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

“She said, ‘I’m so afraid.’ And I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘Because I’m so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening.’ I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you,’ and I said, ‘Hush up, now. Enough of this silliness.'”

“Because when spring comes it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting”

“”He knew I’d betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone…”

“”I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. Was it a fair price? The answer floated to my conscious mind before I could thwart: He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he?”

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. ”

“I thought about Hassan’s dream, the one about us swimming in the lake. There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster.”

“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”

“I throw my makeshift jai-namaz, my prayer rug, on the floor and I get on my knees, lower my forehead to the ground, my tears soaking through the sheet. I bow to the west. Then I remember I haven’t prayed for over fifteen years. I have long forgotten the words. But it doesn’t matter, I will utter those few words I still remember: La illaha il Allah, Muhammad u rasul ullah. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. I see now that Baba was wrong, there is a God, there always had been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets. There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need, I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is. I bow to the west and kiss the ground and promise that I will do zakat, I will do namaz, I will fast during Ramadan and when Ramadan has passed I will go on fasting, I will commit to memory every last word of His holy book, and I will set on a pilgrimage to that sweltering city in the desert and bow before the Ka’bah too. I will do all of this and I will think of Him every day from this day on if He only grants me this one wish: My hands are stained with Hassan’s blood; I pray God doesn’t let them get stained with the blood of his boy too.”





Summing Up The First Quarter..

8 03 2008

Recently I turned 25. Its kind of tough to think through the passing moments, really. Especially when you consider the first quarter of life as a milestone that passed by, acceding to no will of yours. Much of the complexities of being a twenty something is already addressed by some blessed soul over here. I identify with most of it. Yet, life is more than just a summation of miseries, woes, troubles and confusion and I don’t choose to cast a negative cloud on what has been an enriching journey. There is a lot of sunshine, some perfect moments, a few relationships of lifetime, reflections, solitude, lessons earned, studies unlearned, and some cherished people who filled my life with fond memories. Through the walk of life, I discovered joy in music, books, writing, woods, friends, family, mentors and myself which filled my life with love, laughter and a sense of celebration.

My experiments with life have evolved with the different phases that I whizzed by trading my innocence with apathy. Now, am wondering as to how to name those stages? Should I call them Childhood, Adolescence, and My Struggle to Grow Up or should I adhere to the society standards and treat them as Education, and Settlement? 🙂 When I got all I wanted or asked for, there was a sheer joy of achievement and when I didn’t, there was a huge lesson hidden in the reflection of that experience. It wasn’t all roses, yet while looking back, I realize that those little setbacks and failures taught me more than those larger than life kind of victories (they seemed that way when I was there 🙂 ).

Now let me confess this, I had a fabulous set of memories of growing up. My first 25 years that rolled by left me no regrets! Life is indeed beautiful. Call me Ulpasantoshi or easy to please, yet that is the big truth of my life. Words fall flat if I have to express my gratitude to my loving family which shaped me and been a pillar of strength, fabulous mentors who watched over when I faltered, friends offering companionship and acceptance in need and deed, and a lot of strangers and acquaintances who knowingly or unknowingly etched their footprints through innocent interactions. It is indeed people and nature, and the relationships I created with them which made me what I am.

Every day that I wake up in presents me with new challenges or opportunities,of which I passed up some, while exploring some. There is some realization and an immense depth of learning along the way, which I plan to record here for my sake so that when I look back after another 25 years, I can muse on what changed and what stayed on. I know it sounds rather ambitious, but I plan to stay around savoring life for another 3 quarters at the least. 😉

I have learned to appreciate elders, value experience, cherish people, share a smile, care with empathy, love without expecting reciprocation, cheer for the fellow men, endorse goodness whenever I can, enjoy my company in those moments of solitude, face uncertainty, live in the moment and to accept myself for what I am. And am practicing with myself to incorporate them in every pace of life. There are some things that I am trying hard to give up. Like wondering about cosmic questions like the purpose of life, playing the Nostradamus, Ignoring the present in an attempt to design future, postponing happiness, procrastination, transactional relationships, materialistic pursuits and being a rat in the race. That’s a constant battle that I wage on a daily basis with the inner demons, to get that right equation for holistic life.

This first quarter is all about developing roots, as I can feel that a lot of my convictions have only become stronger with age. Glad to trade my innocence for those wonderful moments, memories and experiences that altered me in minute ways, I see a long road ahead to work with myself in translating values to action, moments to memories, and dreams to reality.

To sum it up, let me borrow from Robert Frost.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”




Maha Shiva Ratri..

6 03 2008

To Day is The Night of Lord Shiva.. It feels so special and divine as my mind drifts to those devotional days of childhood times where this ritual is celebrated wholeheartedly in my hometown.

A trip down the memory lane reminds me of those days of Diligent fasting the whole day and night, Melodious and Soulful prayers like Chadrashekhara Astakam, Shiva Panchakshara Strotram, Linga Astakam, Scrambling for various fruits, Decorating the idols with various kinds of flowers for symbolic ritual of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati late in the night, Passing the entire night resisting sleep, playing with pals or watching the good old black and white Lord Shiva movies like Bhakta Kanappa, Markandeya and so on, marching to River Krishna or Godavari and taking a dip early at the crack of dawn, soaking in the fuss of all the elders and inventing our own form of mischief.. Those are the days of fun, play and prayer as they paint my memory with nostalgia and warmth.

I am planning today to take the fast, visit Lord Shiva’s temple and complete it by recollecting all those fond memories of this ritual. For all those agnostics, devotees, cynics and confirmed atheists, I have nothing to say, as belief is a very personal concept. God for me is as much true as the faith that I keep on him or her. Yet, a little reflection makes me dwell on how my feelings towards rituals have evolved over all these years. My awareness, understanding, and the actions towards the rituals take a new definition every year and they reinvent themselves both qualitatively and quantitatively. And that makes me reiterate my inner belief that only experience matters in the end.





How To Be A Good Leader..

18 12 2007

Now that’s a question that rings in my mind quite often, since I joined the corporate world. Am trying to capture some reflections and experiences here, distilled from some real life’s learnings. Its tough to be a good leader or a boss, and its even tougher to acknowledge our weaknesses and the impact that we have on others. Yet, the more we grow in age, experience and cadre, the more our efforts and work is dependent on the contributions of others.

Now, what are the personality attributes that can make someone tick as a good leader or boss? They are pretty much visible to commonsense and are for experience. Tell me how many good leaders have you met in a daily work life context? Yet, there are some real qualities that differentiate them from the common managers and leave a lasting impression in mind. Here is a collection of some of those in an effort to identify, acknowledge and probably inculcate them..

Humility And Courtesy

Ok Ok.. That was pun intended! 🙂 yet, On a serious note, see most of the people who are in influential positions to be most humble and open to people around them. In any knowledge and people intensive industry, what differs one from another is how they apply their uniquely gifted talents and skills. No one is superior or inferior to another and the more we acknowledge this, the more enriching we become.

In fact, those guys who are most likely to throw their weight around are typically in the middle management or in support group as they are often responsible for executing decisions taken by others whether they agree or disagree. Hence, the craving for false significance which reflects in the demonstration of pseudo authority through bossism and shortsightedness. Watch out if you are indulging in this. This behavior can help you get along the day, but not far.

Celebrating Success and Credit Sharing

Celebration is fun. Sharing the success and joy builds the team spirit and unity. Celebrating successes and failures is the essence of life. Don’t you think so? Yet, so often, going through the rhythms of the corporate mumbo jumbo, we often rarely stop for that little pat on back. Hold a little party, acknowledge others’ contribution and live up to the saying-‘one for all and all for one’. Everyone loves to feel important and wants their work to add value to the organization and team. Be genuine and say thanks to all those who made your graphs sparkle in whatever minor way.

Sense Of Humor and Fun

Quite needed in high pressure environment. Humor brings in fresh perspectives and makes us more open to challenges and other possibilities. Added to that, a sense of fun energizes workspaces and makes us more productive. Life is a huge practical joke. Identifying the humor and playing along can really soothe nerves. Don’t wear sleeves on heart, try the vice versa.. 🙂

Staying Calm And Leading By Example in Moments of Crisis

There is no fun in scrambling around and getting worked up on minor crisis situations at work. Accept it. Risks and failures are a part and parcel of life. Its no fun indulging in blame game and taking a free ride on the tension swing. Stand for oneself and for the team and show that you are there and you care. Be around like a breather or a tower of strength in moments of crisis and exude confidence and positivity. Tough call? Indeed. It requires continuous effort.

Being Flexible And Playing The Good Listener

Are you that kind of boss, who stares at the laptop when your teammate drops in for a quick chat? The most vital part of leadership is to acknowledge that people have different priorities and your task list may not figure out on the top of theirs. Acknowledge their personal priorities, be flexible to work out win-win options and always be open, approachable and listen to what others are saying or not saying. Be a people developer and lend an ear when needed. Life may seem to be measured on how many millions we made, yet what counts in the end is how many lives we touched and how many smiles we spread.

Clarity and Expertise in Work

Be sure of what you are talking about and what you want to achieve. Most of the bosses I know falter at this. Often the delegation looks like this.

If you are not sure of what you want, not even the best of the world teammates can help you achieve it. Have clarity on what you want to achieve and then communicate it effectively to your team. It can do wonders.

And, trust me, no one wants to work for a dull head. Never stop learning and understand the significance of the contribution that you are making. Do you think only talent shows? Stupidity is even more tantalizingly evident. Don’t make suggestions under the pretense of adding value. 🙂

Trust and Motivation

The last on my list and the most important one. Believe in team, assert your trust, enlist them in your mission and give them space to carry on. That’s what is called effective and efficient delegation. Noone really wants to work for a boss who don’t trust their capabilities and hovers around like an intrusive security camera. Ask the one who tried. He probably doesn’t have a team now.

As beautifully put by Antoine de Saint-Exupery,

“If you want to build a ship
don’t herd people together to collect wood
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the
endless immensity of the sea.”

Ultimately, it all boils down to this. People are leaders because they choose to lead. Else, they stay managers.. Now I see why this became a huge article! I can actually title this as ‘7 habits to be a successful leader’. 🙂 It’s tough to make sense of what makes a leader tick. If I missed anything, let me know.





Don’t Giveup On Faith..

16 12 2007

Came across this quote on the wall which made me pause by and think.

“A faith that can not survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”

How true!

I always have this concrete belief that most of the vital and important things in life are run on trust, faith and all those intangible things that can only be felt. Many of us go through a lot of suffering and pangs as these convictions go challenged, yet guess thats what life is: adding new dimensions, new perspectives and enhancing our outlook while holding on to faith. What makes us more human is that pathological need to hope and long for all those rational and irrational things on earth while baring ourselves open for those logical rationalistic reasoning attacks. I for one, is of firm belief that I may not remember what logic I applied to sort something out, but would sure be able to expand on those moments that touched my heart. I can be quite verbose, trust me! 🙂





On Possessiveness and Love…

7 12 2007

There is once a popular song in Hindi that sings that ‘Life Is A Song Of Love’.. Always made me pause and reflect. In our attempts to discover and reinvent life through the journey of love, guess many have been tugged by this emotion of possessiveness sometime. I hear many times about this rolling out as a candid confession in conversations. Guess everyone might have heard of this perspective, but when I came across it in my mail box, I couldn’t resist posting it. Coz, there are certain lessons and learnings in life, that demand conscious effort from our side to put them to practice.

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I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: “You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love.”

This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand gently open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds. This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love. They try to posses, own, demand, and expect… and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you. For love is meant to be free, you cannot change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

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Sounds such a simple perspective, but how difficult to internalize! I have seen relationships collapse due to a possessiveness overdrive and power struggle. Well, we can never reason out our actions in relationships, but awareness always helps in defining our perspective. Love like joy and cheer is meant to be shared and isn’t limited like a piece of cake. Still, we feel as if we own the person and haggle for our share, how strange!





Of Thorn Birds, Pain And Sacrificies..

29 11 2007

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” There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then singing among the savage branches, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen , and God in his heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain………Or so says the legend…”

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The only one reason why I came across this paragraph in ‘Thorn Birds’ by Colleen MacCullough is due to the effective PR of a pal who can’t help himself from sharing anything beautiful with the world around him. I loved this legend for the beauty of expression more than anything. Yet, I go back to it often and wonder.. Why do people feel pain is gain? Though my views have grown more tolerant towards pain, this legend reminds me of an achingly painful and purposeless sacrifice of the Nightingale for making of the red rose in the Oscar Wilde stories.

When I reflect back in one of those lazy chair moods, I wonder why is that we have so much love to pain? Pain is intense, private, overwhelming and absorbing. And guess we enjoy the high of being heroes of our lives, fighting all those unpredictabilities, chaos and let downs of life all alone. And guess thats why we remember and relate to the Romeo-Juliet, Heer-Ranjha’s of the world more than many happily ever after stories (I can’t even quote a popular love story with a happy ending! Ahem!) . Yet, We love to rationalize the pain, agony, sacrifices and sufferings of life with strange reasons best known to the cosmic entities. And we idolize those sacrifices and sufferings too. Of all the mysteries of life, aren’t we being masochistic by celebrating pain?





Ladies Day out…

25 11 2007

Mmm.. that was fun with my colleagues at Accenture at the Royal Orchid Doddi’s Resort in Bangalore this Saturday. They say that the journey gets most exciting when we don’t know where we are heading. I could easily relate to this during this ladies day out. We are all just a bunch of 80 gals from different projects joined together for an all day party. We played some interesting team games during the first half which included filling the pitcher, passing the hoolaloop, and making a human machine. It was interesting to watch to see the evolution of team dynamics along the event, and ofcourse being a part of the game. 😉

It was amazing fun to make pals with colleagues whom I have never met before. Fun to be absolutely careless and carefree after a tiring week with a bunch of strangers! We have played, pooled, sang and danced all day and shared some perfect moments with one another. Its not about the resort, or the facilities but more about the experience. Met some amazing people and made a couple of pals too.. After all, why should guys have all the fun? 🙂





Reasoning With Life..

16 11 2007

Sweetheart.. Reason it out.
Be Sensible. Apply Logic.

Does these terms sound familiar? I guess many of us prudent individuals have heard or said this quite often at times, however so futile the situation may seem. Let me be a candid confessor here. I have given up on logic in personal space. However mature I may feel or behave, I know that nothing works on reason or logic especially in relationships. Emotions stand for no reason and love heeds to no advice. Somehow I enjoy that drama that unfolds whenever we deal with relationships. Guess that sheer touch of madness is what makes us sane otherwise.

I have seen many individuals make a fool of themselves in their pursuits. And many more who build ego walls based on false premises to battle their affections. I wonder how many would ponder over this fact.. But when the judgment day arrives, we still count the number of lives we touched or the lasting bonds that we built as our accomplishments. Guess being on the top holds no worth if there are no one around to share the joy.. Yet, I guess our typical tendency is to pursue unworthy things with all fervor with disregard to those pursuing us. Hmmmm.. Reasoning with life never works..





Skeletons in The Cupboard..

8 10 2007

This is one of those persistent echoes from one of those intellectually stimulating conversations that I relished and indulged in grandeur. How do we deal with broken dreams, unrequited love, and breach of trust? How do we handle with that muted voice of the Maverick that lies with in us? We all have our own little skeletons in our cupboards from past. Everyone emerges different from similar experiences depending on how they chose to deal with them.

One of friends’ shared with me his perspective one day. Since I know he wouldn’t mind, am quoting him verbatim.. “Heard “Ekla chalo re?” All of us are individuals, responsible for the fruits and pitfalls of our individual actions. Ever since I was a young, I hardly remember a time when I didn’t suffer from crush pangs. Grew up like that, got ditched a couple of times, but picked up the remnants and carried on. Anyway, you never know who is trustworthy and who is not. I trust everyone and no one. Even if I get ditched, I’m not affected, and if I am not, I’ll have won over someone. Life doesn’t play safe. You’d either be endangered or as safe as in Fort Knox.“

Some choose to live in profound confusion and conflict quagmire, finding it hard to let go of past and some are able to pick up the pieces and move on savoring life moment by moment. Whatever that we choose to do and how would we deal with the skeletons in the cupboard in the end is our personal choice. It’s about being comfortable with our thoughts, value systems and ourselves. What’s life if it’s not spiced with joy, mirth, sorrows, complexities, love, fun and friends? We all have our own wars to fight, storms to rage, dreams to conquer and dragons to slay. Sometimes we may end up with terrible wounds, raw pain, and shattered dreams. I heard someone saying Pain is Gain. How true! Life is a learning process for sure. Hold on to that inner spirit and enjoy the ride.





Embracing Imperfection..

27 09 2007

These days I seem to be on a forwarding spree. Yet, I found it quite relevant to ponder upon. Some relationships are for keeps and they indeed effect us in many ways. I see many people going through some crisis or another on that front and unfortunately there is no degree to help you around that corner. Some balance, acceptance, semblance, accommodation and sensibility is demanded from us in such situations. Yet, often thats what we miss in an emotional situation. I like the idea of ‘accepting imperfections’ that resonates in this article by Deb Graham. Do enjoy.

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THE SECRET TO A LASTING MARRIAGE: EMBRACE IMPERFECTION

By Deb Graham

When I was a little girl, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned toast in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast, smile at my mom, and ask me how my day was at school.

I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that toast and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the toast. And I’ll never forget what he said: “Baby, I love burned toast.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his toast burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Debbie, your momma put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides, ­a little burnt toast never hurt anyone!”

In bed that night, I thought about that scene at dinner and the kindness my daddy showed my mom. To this day, it’s a cherished memory from my childhood that I’ll never forget. And it’s one that came to mind just recently when Jack and I sat down to eat dinner.

I had arrived home late… as usual… and decided we would have breakfast food for dinner. Some things never change, I suppose!

To my amazement, I found the ingredients I needed, and quickly began to cook eggs, turkey sausage, and buttered toast. Thinking I had things under control, I glanced through the mail for the day. It was only a few minutes later that I remembered that I had forgotten to take the toast out of the oven!

Now, had it been any other day — and had we had more than two pieces of bread in the entire house — I would have started all over. But it had been one of those days; and I had just used up the last two pieces of bread. So burnt toast it was!

As I set the plate down in front of Jack, I waited for a comment about the toast. But all I got was a “Thank you!” I watched as he ate bite by bite, all the time waiting for some comment about the toast. But instead, all Jack said was, “Babe, this is great. Thanks for cooking tonight. I know you had a hard day.”

As I took a bite of my charred toast that night, I thought about my mom and dad… how burnt toast hadn’t been a deal-breaker for them. And I quietly thanked God for giving me a marriage where burnt toast wasn’t a deal-breaker either!

You know, life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best housekeeper or cook. And you might be surprised to find out that Jack isn’t the perfect husband! He likes to play his music too loud, he will always find a way to avoid yard work, and he watches far too many sports. Believe it or not, watching “Golf Academy” is not my idea of a great night at home!

But somehow in the past 37 years Jack and I have learned to accept the imperfections in each other. Over time, we have stopped trying to make each other in our own mold and have learned to celebrate our differences. You might say that we’ve learned to love each other for who we really are!

For example, I like to take my time, I’m a perfectionist, and I’m even-tempered. I tend to work too much and sleep too little. Jack, on the other hand, is disciplined, studious, an early riser, and is a marketer’s dream consumer. I count pennies and Jack could care less! Where he is strong, I am weak, and vice versa.

And while you might say that Jack and I are opposites, we’re also very much alike. I can look at him and tell you what he’s thinking. I can predict his actions before he finalizes his plans. On the other hand, he knows whether I’m troubled or not the moment I enter a room.

We share the same goals. We love the same things. And we are still best friends. We’ve traveled through many valleys and enjoyed many mountaintops. And yet, at the same time, Jack and I must work every minute of every day to make this thing called “marriage” work!

What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults – and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences – is the one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting marriage relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today. That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your married life and lay them at the feet of GOD. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a marriage where burnt toast isn’t a deal-breaker!

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Reason, Season Or Lifetime

12 09 2007

This is a beautiful piece thats written by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker on Relationships. I have received it as a forward longtime back and since then it kind of resonates in mind in times of need. Thought of sharing it with you all.

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People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON. It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are!

They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Then people come into your life for a SEASON. Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.





Love And Time..

9 09 2007

Here is another forward that I have received a long time back. There is no specific reason to post this apart from the fact that I liked this.  This story brings out quite creatively that time is much needed to appreciate the richness of love.. Muse on..

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Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat.” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “Oh….Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her! Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.

Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way.

Love realizing how much he owed the elder and asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”





Who Said Resignation Is Easy?

30 07 2007

It did take a lot of struggle, loads of head and heart ache, countless gyan sessions to melt that idea of dream job away. And finally the matter is decided in perfect solitude, over a cuppa, away from the noises of the world, throwing caution and comfort zone out of window.. And thus the event happened out of an instinct! Thanks to a few great pals in TCS, I got my release almost immediately and here I am, back at my easy chair, relishing rare days of unemployment at home before I head to join Accenture in Bangalore..

Goodbyes have always felt awkward and sentimental for me since ages. Its none so different this time. Its so tough to handle them for, I believe that people who matter are never far and those who don’t were never in the picture anyways. Yet, there are things, places, and patterns that can grow on you.. I managed somehow to break free out of it..

When I came to work at TCS, its like a dream come true. Working for Tata Group has always been a cherished idea for me. Guess I fell in love the engaging company culture, quality of work life and especially the down to earth and casual air of the people here. I loved what I did for an year and half.. Yet, there is this nagging need for change, and a persistant sense of direction which provoked me to take a detached view of the career and life in front of me. Finally patience didn’t do the trick. TCS is a great company, yet there aren’t many opportunities that came my way in the area that I choose to be. I am not exactly thrilled by my decision, yet sometimes, I guess its ok to say ‘I have to’ for reasons unknown even to oneself.

All is well in the end. I have had quite a bit of learning by living through this experience of uncertainity. I have made new friends, changed some relationships, gleaned whatever I could and I moved on, away from Chennai: a city which I called home for two years and far from TCS: my first love in the dream company list. No regrets apparently!





Revisiting Childhood!

14 05 2007

My entire weekend can be termed under one phrase: “Sheer Bliss”! I spent the best part of my weekend at Kuppa Metta Kandriga, which is located at the Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu border, almost 14 kilometers away from a small village called Nagari. This trip is a impromptu one, and I went in as a willing companion to my mother who wanted to visit her childhood friends and relatives located over there.

We caught a bus (#201) at CMBT in Chennai to go to Nagari which is some 2 hours journey and then boarded an auto arranged by my uncle to go to his Farm House. Thankfully, there is a decent cement road laid to connect those remote areas.. My childhood impressions prepared me for horse carts and I am delighted to trade it for an Auto rickshaw. I still remember those insensitive days when the cart driver used pepper powder on the eyes of the horse to make it carry heavy load in 1990s. 😦 Already, there is nostalgia setting in my mind and I longed for an escape into the simplistic life of the villages!

Well, how to you feel if you land up in an isolated place where you see greenery everywhere and there isn’t a single man made concrete building around for miles? I got more than I bargained for. I got joy, contentment, elation, solitude and peace! This farmhouse is set in sugarcane plantations and is filled with sunlight, fresh air and space. Their house is surrounded by lavish opulence of dangling beauties like jasmines, cosmos, frangipanis, periwinkles and firecrackers (kanakambaram) basking in glorious sunshine only to be competed by those Mango, Coconut, Guava and Pomegranate trees offering ripe temptations.. I had innocent elation at discovering the livestock. There were cattle, and pet dogs. I had a dewy-eyed pleasure in feeding cattle, taking calves for walk, and playing with dogs.

The beauty of the place is enhanced by the sounds of silence: rustling of the trees, buzzing of the leaves, soft cooing of the birds and the faint tinging of the bells. I wandered like a spoilt child, discovering delight everywhere, uncared for the hot sun.. I just loved those ornate cement floors, archaic concrete bath tubs, that gushing pump set by the old well, and that black and white television at their home.. I loved the night even more. Ensconced in natural air conditioning, admiring the star-lit skies and the shimmering glow worms, all I could think of is ‘Contentment’. It kind of transported me back into childhood and I was fourteen again!





Complexities of Unrequited Love..

30 04 2007

That can sure cause quite a turmoil in the heart. My idea of love is still evolving, and probably it would enhance with passage of time as I learn from heart’s journeys. Yet, coursing through the experiences of life, entangled in the tales of love has made me appreciate the labyrinthine maneuvering of tortuous emotions.

Makes me wonder how the definitions of love change with time. At times, it could be courting, flirting or a simple companionship. It could be attraction, affection or an intrinsic need for completeness. Sounds quite like an convoluted journey, isn’t it?

Living through the tales of unrequited love made me wonder what creates that plethora of entangled emotions. Is that incompatible expectations, or unjustified emotions? Is it incongruous personalities or mismatched priorities? Whatever could be the real reason, they sure leave a trail of broken feelings, of bleeding hearts exposed for hurt…

Rise in love, fall in love, broken hearts and mended feelings.. Cliches really have a way of putting things in a poetic fashion! We may turn up cynical and may put in practical outlook, we may lock ourselves in shells with once bitten twice shy attitude, or go with the traditional flow. We may even lick those wounds in private and avow never to trust or place ourselves in vulnerable situations! Its interesting to go through the emotional roller coaster as we come out stronger, richer and wiser after the experience.

Love is enchanting experience and our entire life rolls in the process of discovering it. So what if a prospective partner doesn’t reciprocate your tender feelings? Caught in the spell of love is magical enough. Adoring expectantly, acting irrational, waiting upon for hours, getting all decked up, walking in the clouds, reading poetry together, getting bewitched by the expressive eyes, awaiting approval, spending hours on phones, those times of missed calls and long messages, small fights and big make ups, teasing from friends and crib sessions.. Don’t they form a treasured collection of cherished memories?

Live in the moment, savor the experience, sour higher in the depth of the emotions and learn to relish life in totality. Appreciate the experience for the heck of it! Imagine how boring life would be, if everything happens the way we wish it to be..There ain’t no charm in predictability! Requited or unrequited, there is a purpose hidden beneath.. Our soul goes deep like those dark ancient rivers as we wade through highs and lows of life. Well, I hear my dreamy self rambling again!





Beauty of Well Worded Thoughts!

28 04 2007

Talking of those days when I am down and I have shut myself from the world, of those days when I cried in private and put a brave mask to the world, of those days when I lose myself in a book unwilling to face the day.. I have lived the life of an escapist at times! There are times when I felt so uncomfortable to acknowledge or accept that part of me, especially when I retracted into a rugged shell to play the recluse quarantined in my own comfortable solitude. I am breaking from the mould, as I have learned to be patient and accepting of myself, of my choices and actions.

Life’s choices are based on our reactions at that moment. Probably reflecting back, I can always say that I could have handled the moment in a better fashion. Past is always easy to judge, as its comprehended. Yet, things doesn’t look so black and white when one goes through the rigmarole! A friend of mine has beautifully worded my reaction as ‘survival instinct’. It truly made me pause and wonder. What a pertinent phrase to rationalize my actions! The power that well worded observation had on me is beyond expression. It feels as if a new insight dawned on me and I looked through things in a different light! Such is the power of the right words! Well, that doesn’t mean that I hunt for harmonious thoughts to justify my feelings.. 🙂 Infact, this post is dedicated to the beauty of expression and also to that sweet friend who made my day!





Raising A Toast!

10 04 2007

Yesterday, I spent hours on phone, taking a trip down the memory line, recounting those inane moments, simple joys, reflections and contemplations, purposeless guilt trips and silly hobbies. I really learn a think or two when I am engrossed in an enriched conversation. Its when you bring in thoughts together and let it examined from an another perspective that you learn to appreciate the differences. Its at those times that I learn a bit about myself too.

What a breather it was! To have a simple purposeless conversation, to have someone to walk by your side, to have an enriching companionship, enjoying the sheer lack of expectations! I wanted to raise a toast for all those special and beautiful moments of life.. which make me feel alive, complete, loved and true..

An Ode To those moments of comfortable silence, of slow dancing in the rain, wild journeys in the woods, watching sunset with friends, catching the laughter of the loved ones, falling asleep with soothing music, being comfortably numb, beauty of nature’s carpet, of moments of predictable rhythm, of whacky adventures and warmth of loved ones..

I sign off as someone’s quote ringing in my head echoing that, The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched … but are felt in the heart!





All of My One Yr at Work!

16 06 2006

Knock Knock.. “Sowmya Wake Up!!!”
Wondering I enquire in daze ” Who the Hell is this? ”
“Its me, remember those M&Bs and late night walks?”, inquires my forlorn, and abandoned self. “Oh dear- are u still alive?”- I ask in splendor.
Guess an year of corporatedom has taken my intelligence to all time low and I have ignored those inner rantings for so long that I didn’t expect a wave of nostalgia to hit me today!

Yeah, Am back to introspect, to blog and to connect with myself even if its only for a while! Its been so long since I turned mechanical.. staring into the screen as if am going to get a windfall, pretending to be Ms. Know All in the face of crisis, doing tap dance and tango in front of clients and muting those inner longings for tomorrow. I had so many wishes for tomorrow that it made me exhausted. I wanted a day to read that book, have that bicycle, own that garden, kiss my mamma, love my granny, be that wanton self and hold that hand!

I spent some time going through some interesting blogs and marveled at their ability to get connected to their inner souls. This whole week I spent VELA waiting for the tide to turn in my favor and my mood to get back to slog. At times I hate Microsoft for its MS Office! Word, or PPT all all alike!

Neither my parents visit last week or nor my great confirmation rating helped me to bring me back to normalcy. Now I know that if monotony is creeping in, its one of those warnings from the system to think something different. I had ignored them for long and that’s the cause for this long hibernation!

Lazy Reflections!

Looking back on my one year of work experience, am pleased to note that I am still intact except for a few bouts of boredom at times. There is quite a lot of things that I have noticed, realized and changed. The biggest realization is the value and the worth of building a network. In the corporate world, my success is not dependent on what I do but rather on how I take others along with me. That calls for being considerate for others, leading by example, having a ready smile and openmindedness.

After sharing experiences with friends, I have realized that having a good support and a good boss who lets you have your own way helps a long way in being yourself. I can use a little guidance on the way, and have noticed that I need to be proactive. Thanks to my boss and guide, who taught me to be on my own, I held my head high with enthusiasm and frankness. Honesty, Trust and Integrity are important as these values truly reflect on your interactions with others. I can sense the other person’s way of interaction, whether its business like, friendly or professional. I long for fair, informal and warm interactions in business environment as well.

We can take Business and professionalism to any level, yet we still remain humans. We are always impressed by the humanly qualities. I may doubt your success chances even if you have a great product, yet am willing to bet if you are passionate about what you are doing as that brings out your confidence, commitment and sincerity. Never loose that human touch or the feeling of appreciation about what you do. Always recognize the worth of people around you. Appreciate and cherish little details and stay beautiful. Welcome to a brand new year of excitement and challenge!





Tuesdays with Morrie…

13 03 2005

An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

At times you long for a mentor or a coach to guide you through the life’s ups and downs. You long for an ear to listen and a hand to show the world and the way to make our own way. Here the student is Mitch Albom and the coach is his college professor Morrie Schwartz.

Mitch Albom rediscovered Morrie, who is dying due to a fatal disease, in the last months of the older man’s life. Morrie is suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), an unforgiving disease of the neurological system, which debilitates the body slowly. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, which resulted in lessons in how to live. It celebrates the undying human spirit and its quest to learn and grow. He talks about love, joy, compassion, warmth, family, relationships, culture, society in such a disarmingly simple manner that you feel as a part of the conversation wondering about Morrie’s depth of understanding of life.

Morrie says, “We all yearn in some way to return to those days when we were completely taken care of — unconditional love, unconditional caring. Most of us didn’t get enough.” Morrie has something to say about those who want to be young again. He says that’s a reflection of a life that hasn’t found meaning. He says if you’ve found meaning you don’t want to go back, and you can appreciate the 23 year old in you, the 35 year old and the 62 year old.

Morrie emphasizes on cultivating relationships, touching people with genuineness and honesty, sharing warmth, affection and love. People tend to see each other as dissimilar rather than alike. In reality we all have the same needs. We are remembered by how we touched other’s lives rather than the bank balance we have.

The book inspires as I am not only soaking his wisdom, but I am also being a part of his experience of death. In his words, he is fortunate enough to know he is dying, to take stock of his life as it comes to an end. Understanding dawned in me that it is that in learning how to die, we learn how to live. If I accept the inevitability of my own death, then I can live my life free of trivial worldly concerns. Albom includes you in Morrie’s journey of life and it’s sure a book which makes you laugh, cry and makes you learn about life along the way.





Expectations n Relationships!

8 10 2004

It may happen with us that I may want the company of the person without whom I cant live or my life may seem incomplete. But it can also be true that later I may feel constrained in the relationship or my illusions may get shattered. Well all I want to say is the real culprit here is my mind. It makes expectations, and creates an aura or image of an ideal person whom I want, without any connection to the real person. And all the life I may try to fit that person into that image. No wonder there are ripples in the relationship. Here what I have to consider first is whether I am flexible and open enough to consider and understand the person as he is? Or else that perfect marriage with a perfect person would be nothing but a MIRAGE. Think about it!

Actually, expectations in relationships increase because of repeated behavior of the other person and also on your own emotional attachment with her. But,when you have expectations, you are bound to be either satisfied or dissatisfied. The way you react will alter the relationship, and may even constrain it when you try to restrain or bound the other person. Well, I guess you can be aware of the expectations you have and hence so you can actually discover the joy of the relationship.

Everyone may share different perspectives, but I can at least examine my own assumptions as I don’t think that expectations form the basis of relationships. Well, there may be an inherent need to associate with others, still will it lead to expectations? May be I have to look in myself..